"The Companion" by Hunter Madsen

"The Companion"

Certain life truths come only from committing to the care of an intelligent pet able to care in return. When dogs and their owners see each other, their brains both release oxytocin, the hormone generated between persons who feel they are in love. 

For many, the death of a pet is their first experience of mortal loss and grieving within their immediate family. The person who must choose the date on which to end a pet's life, for mercy's sake, learns something about the cruelty with which this universe is constructed, about the limits of their own compassion, and about their contingent but real responsibility for whatever ultimately happens to their loved ones. 

The extraordinary dog in this image was named Tashi, from a Tibetan phrase meaning "good fortune." I came across our collie resting quietly amidst fall leaves, like the girl in the poster for American Beauty

Over fourteen years, Tashi followed my partner and me across eleven countries, serving as a wise, trusting, grounded, and soulful companion, until her accumulating physical problems prompted us to euthanize her. Just as I had held her warm little puppy body on the drive home from the pound, now I gently held the old girl in my arms once last time, as the vet put her to sleep.

TITLE - "The Companion"
WHERE - Vancouver, British Columbia (2013)